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I'm new to this forum so I appreciate in advance any help or ideas you have to give. I've been scouring the internet for help on this particular topic and have come up empty so here goes. We own a Gen. Contracting business. My husband's been in business for about 25 years, the first 15-20 mostly framing but now mainly does new construction (only does his own framing, doesn't sub out to anyone else). Has done some really nice high profile homes, has happy customers, some nice referrals. The last 3-4 years he's down nothing but pre-solds. He recently started working with some clients that were referred to him. Nothing is signed yet. All was going well, getting some plans together, he's been working hard. Then a few nights ago, the wife of another General Contractor called up these clients at home and started badmouthing my husband's work saying he was only a framing contractor, that he had a hot temper and that her husband's company would build the house for less (This is a large home that is going to run about $800-$1 million) no matter what my husband bid. The client said something to this woman about whether this was ethical and the woman said "it happens all the time". The client told my husband about the phone call and for now my husband is taking the high road, trying to reassure the client about his work and reputation but this incident has really shaken him. He has not confronted this woman or her General Contractor husband. We live in a smaller town and unfortunately, this woman and her husband practically run our Homebuilders Association. What are your thoughts about this situation. We have never run across anything this blatant before. It would have been one thing if the client was soliciting opinions on their own, but for this woman to take it upon herself to call and denigrate my husband seems completely unethical and unprofessional. What do you do if/when it happens to you and what if any recourse do we have if this contractor "steals" our client based on bad mouthing and false accusations?
Thanks for the help guys.
 

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Somehow a suit for slander and libel come to mind first. There is also something else involving loss of income if you don't get the job.
If they run the Builder's Assoc'n, don't they already know you and your reputation?
 

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TheMrs. said:
recently started working with some clients that were referred to him. Nothing is signed yet.
If your providing service in the abscence of a contract, watch out.


TheMrs. said:
the wife of another General Contractor called up these clients at home and started badmouthing my husband's work saying...her husband's company would build the house for less (This is a large home that is going to run about $800-$1 million) no matter what my husband bid.
Sounds like a good opportunity to find out what the other company will bid on a job like this. Is the client still accepting bids? If so, position yourself to review the bids with him when they're all in.

TheMrs. said:
this woman and her husband practically run our Homebuilders Association. What are your thoughts about this situation.
The whole thing is bizarre. One thing's for sure - the client doesn't want to be caught in the middle of a legal action. You're going to need to steer smartly through this challenge and out manuever pyscho-contractor.


TheMrs. said:
It would have been one thing if the client was soliciting opinions on their own, but for this woman to take it upon herself to call... seems completely unethical and unprofessional.
Very aggressive I admit. Personally, I don't think making contact is unethical at all, solicited or not. But if false witness is being offered it's certainly unethical. Perhaps you can effectively discredit the unflattering claims with some current testimonials from a number of former clients? I think you need to address the concerns that have been raised, however unfounded, while at the same time staying above the fray.
 

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Or you could just drive over to her house and *****-slap the hell out of her. Whichever works best for you :D
 

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Talk about a puzzle... this one sure is. If you get the buyers in the middle of anything at all, they might (and should) say the heck with all you guys and go get a third bulider. There's a lot at stake here. Walking on eggshells sucks. Not an enviable position, for sure.
 

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SMACK........LOL Pipe.

Sounds like the busy body beeeouch needs it.

Just a thought, the customer may have made contact with your little busy body friend, then just told you otherwise in order to cover the inquirey. Watch out, you might be selling to a fence jumper.

The bad thing about a fence jumper is, sooner or later the land in the yard with the dog and the checkbook gets eaten.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Teetorbilt said:
Somehow a suit for slander and libel come to mind first. There is also something else involving loss of income if you don't get the job.
If they run the Builder's Assoc'n, don't they already know you and your reputation?
Well, I was trying to keep the whole story short....but I believe for this contractor's wife it is personal. My husband used to do the framing for this other contractor then quit to start doing his own houses. I think, although we thought the split was amicable, there must still be some resentment. That, and I think she needs medication of some kind. ;) Thanks alot for your thoughts everyone. We thought the whole thing was a little nuts. This is a small town and for the most part competition is friendly. I suppose that with things slowing down a bit it might get a little nasty, but we weren't expecting this.
 

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Seems to me like this whole issue should be presented to the other members of the homebuilder's association. Bet that would nip it in the bud real quick.
 

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Thats busisness on the ugly side.
I think the best thing to do is reassure the potential customer ( presumed because of no contract) that everthing will be fine, ask your past customers to reassure your new prospect. keep your head up and keep going.
 
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